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Rain, sleet, or “Snowpocalypse,” ATC is here for all your transcription needs!

Rain, sleet, or Snowpocalypse - ATC Blog

Winter Storm Juno or “Snowpocalypse” is arriving in the northeast with a vengeance overnight tonight, so we’re preparing for the worst while still handling all of your transcription needs to the best of our abilities!

Team ATC is ready to make sure your audio and video content aren’t buried beneath the snowdrifts or blown away in the 50+ mph blizzard-like winds.

Continue reading “Rain, sleet, or “Snowpocalypse,” ATC is here for all your transcription needs!”

Confidentiality IS a no-brainer!

Confidentiality IS a no-brainer - ATC Blog

Oy, the paperwork, the legalese, the “CYA” that’s now REQUIRED when running a transcription service…or any type of service, it seems.  It’s truly never-ending, and we spend hours upon hours reviewing agreements of all kinds with major institutions while they perform risk assessments of ATC’s downtown Boston office space.  Our founder, owner, and president Sandy’s favorite is showing off his circa 1940s Brownie box camera that sits perched on a high shelf in his office impersonating part of our state-of-the-art video security system.  He was thrilled the day one of the younger risk assessment people actually thought it WAS part of the security system.  What’s the reason for all of this, you may ask? It’s the “confidentiality conundrum” that truly isn’t a conundrum…a confidentiality agreement is a no-brainer.  So…does a confidentiality agreement automatically guarantee confidentiality?

Continue reading “Confidentiality IS a no-brainer!”

Rain, sleet, or “Snowpocalypse,” ATC is here for all your transcription needs!

(Blizzard of ’78 picture By David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file 1978)

Winter Storm Nemo, also known as “Snowpocalypse,” is arriving in New England, but team ATC is ready to make sure your audio and video content aren’t buried beneath the snowdrifts, or blown away in the blizzard-like winds.

The Blizzard of 1978 caught many people by surprise, and Boston was shut down for days afterwards

Continue reading “Rain, sleet, or “Snowpocalypse,” ATC is here for all your transcription needs!”

StoryCorps’s National Day of Listening

Story Corps National Day of Listening - Audio Transcription Center Blog

Thanksgiving is around the proverbial corner, and this holiday is typically a wonderful opportunity for friends and families to reconnect.  People being together offers a perfect time for stories to be passed around the holiday table along with helpings of stuffing and mashed potatoes. The potential for these stories to be handed and passed from generation to generation is at a peak while everyone is together.  What better way to collect, share, and save these stories from potentially being forgotten than by recording, archiving, and transcribing them for posterity?

We believe that StoryCorps’s The National Day of Listening is the perfect excuse to talk, listen, record, and transcribe.

We live in a special time when we’re not just able to orally pass stories down the line, but we’re also able ensure their archival longevity through the recording and transcribing of these personal and oral histories.

Take the time to find a quiet space, and set up your digital recorder.  Test the device to make sure you are recording properly.  Then, hit the record button and listen to and record the story.  It’s that simple, and it will be a gift  to read and listen to for generations.  This year, StoryCorps suggests honoring a veteran, and offers suggested conversation starters right on their website.

Don’t lose out on your family history and question yourself after it is too late.  We speak from our own missed opportunities.

Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and the opportunity to listen to, record and transcribe a new story never heard before.

In full disclosure, the Audio Transcription Center has partnered with StoryCorps on transcription of their audio recordings for their published books, Listening is an Act of Love, All There Is, and Mom , that we are humbled and proud to have participated in. 

Michael Sesling                                                           Sandy Poritzky
Director                                                                           Owner/President
michael@audiotranscriptioncenter.com                      sandy@audiotranscriptioncenter.com
(617) 423-2151                                                              (617) 423-2151

Our Transcriptionists: Part of the 47% Honor Roll!

Our Transcriptionists - Audio Transcription Center Blog

What do you do with people who have a keen sense of hearing, ridiculously fast fingers, one hell of an accurate mind, but prefer not to interact with the public?

What do you do with people who prefer to interact with words and ideas instead?

What do you do with people who prefer a job that offers near instant gratification?

What do you do with people who prefer producing high quality transcripts out of a poor audio recording?

What do you do with people who prefer leaving their work at the office?

What do you do with people who get their jollies by beating unrealistic deadlines?

Since 1966 we’ve found a home for these anomalies of the working world, and we’ve been able to build our highly educatedand culturally diverse team of transcriptionistsfrom this truly amazing group of oddballs.

Give the Audio Transcription Center a try, and see the difference it makes in the accuracy of your transcripts and the speed of your work flow.  (As well as helping to bring down the unemployment rate…)

 
Lastly, please remember to VOTE November 6, 2012! 

Michael Sesling
Director
michael@audiotranscriptioncenter.com

Sandy Poritzky
Owner/President
sandy@audiotranscriptioncenter.com

Beating unreasonable deadlines since 1966!
Never a charge for RUSH service!

Improve audio & save money: the experts speak

Improve audio & save money: the experts speak - ATC Blog

Practice.  Study your recorder and your microphone and learn how they “listen” and record.  Then, understand how to optimize the quality of your recording so you can adapt to any recording situation.” Doug Boyd PhD, Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 I lead in with a quote from Doug Boyd, as evidence that this is not just a self-serving transcription service telling you what to do with your recording and interview techniques, but one of the pre-eminent scholars in the oral history world (and in full disclosure one of our clients who agreed to offer his two cents on interviewing and recording techniques) who spends his professional life making sure he’s able to capture high-quality interviews for archival purposes – while aggressively monitoring the overall dollars he spends on his projects.  Our motives, quite frankly, are a bit selfish.  By having the best audio to work with, our reputation as a high quality transcription service is enhanced.  But equally important is helping you find ways to record archival quality audio/video, and at the same time conserving your all- important budget dollars.  Additionally, on a more personal level for us, we want to save our transcriptionists’ ears and their sanity as well.
The key in all of this –
You or whoever is conducting your interviews needs to help us
in this improvement and financial conservation process.
We guestimate that 30%of the audio we receive each year is recorded as if the people talking are standing at the bottom of a well, and then are conversing with one another through the technological wonders of tin cans and string.  Maybe we exaggerate things (just slightly), but it is to prove a point.  If it wasn’t for those darn confidentiality agreements we’d be more than happy to share examples of this poor quality audio, ergo transcripts, with you as well.
Instead, we’ll do our best to offer some (what we think are) common sense tips, and as backup to our points, some key thoughts from experts in the art of recording and interviewing, answering the question of, If you only had one thing you could tell someone to help them improve their interviews to get the best interview recording possible, what would it be?”  You’ll see the challenge in their replies is that not many of them were able to keep their list to one thing.  In full disclosure, the quotes are not just from people who are experts in their field, but from people who are also our clients.  Who better to learn from than the people who are recording and interviewing in the best manner possible. 
But first, here’s our bullet point take on it.
·         Above all else: Use Common Sense (If only everyone would use some common sense)
  •   Test out the recording device and all of its features before using it.
  •    Place the recorder closer to the interviewee than to the interviewer.
  •    Check the batteries (if there’s no power chord), and bring extra batteries!
  •    Bring an extra memory card
  •    Don’t talk over the interviewee – let them complete their thought, and then follow-up.
  •    Pay attention to the place of the recording
  •   Is there ambient noise to be concerned with?
    •          Is the location in a quiet room, but under an air conditioner?
    •          Is the location a noisy coffee shop (chatter, dishes, etc.)?
    •          Will external conversations be picked up by the recording device?
  •  Be prepared with questions to keep your interview as cohesive as possible
  •  Don’t forget to bring and use a backup recorder (if possible).
See, we believe all these aforementioned bullet points are common sense, and we don’t know how else to classify them.  Our clients/the experts also offer some excellent points to implement in the interview and recording process, and we know you’ll find them helpful as well.
  lucky_budd_circle-300x300   The most important thing to keep in mind when interviewing is that capturing the interviewee’s testimony is the primary goal.  A recorder should therefore be placed 2 feet from the interviewee, pointed at their mouth.” –Robert Budd, Memories to Memoirs (He got his Master’s Degree in the field!)
    
    “I have told people before in oral history workshops to go ahead and spend the extra money and get two separate microphonesone for the interviewer and one for the interviewee – and make sure they are both the best quality that you can afford.”  –Anonymous (do to the aforementioned confidentiality concerns, this client/expert prefers to remain anonymous, but did want their thoughts to be included.)
      “Even on days where you’re most excited to get the interview started, be sure to spend the additional time it takes to test all of your audio equipment – in that specific setting, with that particular individual – before you dive into your conversations.” —Samuel J. Redman, Academic Specialist and Lead Interviewer for the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front Oral History Project, Regional Oral History Office, UC Berkeley
    “Do as much research as time and money allow to avoid superficial questions and answers and probable frustration of the interviewee.” –Sally Smith Hughes, Academic Specialist, Science and Technology, Regional Oral History Office, UC Berkeley
      Know your recording equipment so well that you can be 99 percent focused on the interview and 1 percent focused on the equipment.”–David Dunham Project Manager, WWII Home Front Oral History Project  – Regional Oral History Office, UC Berkeley Web/Video Director
Take the time to implement these helpful ideas, and you’ll find in the long term you’ll have better quality recordings and more accurate transcripts that save you time, money, and our transcriptionists’ headaches.

Transcripts, timecoding, and you

Transcripts timecoding and you - Audio Transcription Center Blog

As the Director of the Audio Transcription Center, I am routinely in meetings with Sandy Poritzky, the owner who started this firm in 1966.  Over the course of my 5 years with the firm, I have listened numerous times to Sandy’s arguments for time-coding transcripts and had many an argument about the topic.

“Michael, my boy,” he’ll say, “why don’t we have time-coding as a standard for all client transcripts?”  “Sandy, the challenge with time-coding is that there is no standard,” I’ll tell him, and then we’ll get into a debate for the next 35 minutes about time-coding.

In the ensuing battles in his office, Sandy, in his inimitable fashion argued that we need to come up with a standard for time-coding that would be included in all client transcripts.  On the counterpoint, in my inimitable fashion, I argued that every client’s needs are so different that there can not be any standard inclusion of time-coding in transcripts.

To be fair, Sandy’s belief is that time-coding should be a standard offering in transcripts, and he understands that every client has very different needs in how time-coding should be included and used in transcription.

Five years later, the battles still linger on, but we now have a conversation with clients about their specific transcription requirements and how time-coding can be a major time-saver in reviewing and editing your transcripts in the long run.

Quite basically, time-coding is beneficial for clients on a few different levels.  One way is for clients to be able to sync up their transcripts with their audio/video files, so that visitors to an online oral history project may synchronously watch the video recording and read the transcript.

For instance, have a look at the website of the Kentuckiana Digital Library, which offers their video footage with a synced transcript.  As Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries writes in his article, “Achieving the Promise of Oral History in a Digital Age”, published in Donald Ritchie’s The Oxford Handbook of Oral History [Oxford University Press, 2011], “By embedding time-code into the transcript, we enabled time correlation between the transcript and the audio or video, yielding an integrated final product where the components work together…Additionally, we created a customized software solution to more easily (albeit still manually) embed time-code markers into the transcript.  The decision was made to embed these markers at one-minute intervals throughout the transcript.  The five-minute interval proved to be, still, too much text to scan while trying to determine the specific location of the information being sought in the audio file.”

We also work with numerous production companies that are sending in their video footage prior to editing.  These clients actually have us time-coding their transcripts at even shorter intervals, so they can easily and efficiently edit sound bites by reviewing their newly time-coded transcripts.

Additionally, if a client sends in an audio file with with poor quality audio, and we are unable to transcribe a word that is said, we’ll put (inaudible) in place of the unknown word.  Time-coding these portions becomes an added feature to help a client easily locate the “inaudible” content in their audio, and review to see if they are able to replace the “inaudible” content with the word that was said.

So in the end, there is no standard need for our clients in how time-codes should be inserted in transcripts, but there certainly is reason to find the time-code formatting that will make reviewing, editing, reading, and watching your content that much simpler.